In the film, The Blind Side, a homeless, young man named Michael Oher is living in Oslo, Tennessee. The story is set in a Christian, affluent, all-white, and Southern community. Growing up, due to Michael Oher’s mother’s drug addiction, he was moved from one foster home to another.
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Despite Michaels poor academic record, a football coach at a Christian school is impressed by Michaels athleticism and size and the coach wants him on his team. One night, Michael is walking outside in the cold and Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family pass him on the road. The Tuohys are a white and wealthy family living in a extremely nice area of Oslo. Before meeting Michael, it appeared Leigh Anne spent most of her freetime having lunch with her friends. Leigh Anne’s children, S.J. and Collins, go to school with Michael and when she realizes Michael is without a place to go she offers him a place to sleep on their couch. Leigh Anne soon learns Michael is without family when she tries to take him to his mother but she has been evicted from her home. Leigh Anne opens her heart and home to Michael and gives him a permanent bedroom at the Tuohy house.
Michael is a very shy, non talkative, and an introverted teen and he does not do well in school, but he does like being around other kids. Leigh Anne sees Michaels desire to be around others and helps him apply his skills to his football game, and this eventually teaches him what he is good at. Despite the many difficulties and hardships, Michael continuously gets better at football but he needs to make better grades to play at a more advanced level. Leigh Anne gets him a tutor to help improve his grades. The Tuohy family watch as prestigious universities try to recruit Micheal to play on their teams. Michael chooses the University of Mississippi, where Leigh Anne and her husband Sean graduated. His choice in schools is heavily investigated because officers think the Leigh Anne, Sean, and the school want to make money off his recruitment. Michael defends his family and attends the University of Mississippi. He eventually goes on to become a successful football player for the Baltimore Ravens.
Persuasion is the process focused at changing a person’s attitude and/or behavior or a group’s attitude and/or behavior towards a community, a person, event, etc., by conveying feelings, information, and/or reasoning about the set attitude and/or behavior (Branscombe, N. R., & Baron, R. A., n.d.)
Hypocrisy is when a person or people pretend to or say they have beliefs, feelings, and qualities that they do not actually possess (Branscombe, N. R., & Baron, R. A., n.d.).
One scene takes place in the Tuohy children’s school cafeteria. S.J. is sitting down eating and Michael comes to join him. Michael is wearing a bright yellow, striped, Rugby shirt. After Michael joins him at the table S.J. is quick to tell Michael he needs to stop wearing Rugby shirts and that he looks like a giant bumble bee. This is a form of persuasion. S.J. makes an effort to persuade Michael on how clothes should be. He uses persuasive speaking to try and change Michael’s behavior of wearing rugby shirts by expressing feelings and conveying information about the behavior.
In a scene where Leigh Anne is having lunch with her white, wealthy, and Christian friends, they begin to discuss the adoption of Michael into the Tuohy family. During the conversation, one of Leigh Anne’s friends makes a racist comment about Michael being a big, black, boy living under the same roof as Collin, Leigh Anne’s daughter. God’s word is clear to tell Christians that all men are created equal, so for a group of women who claim themselves to be Christian, they don’t behave like it. This is Hypocrisy. By Leigh Anne’s friend claiming herself to have beliefs, and feelings that she does not actually have, she is a hypocrite. Her friend’s hypocrisy makes her extremely upset and she goes on to tell her that she should be ashamed of herself.
A stereotype is any idea or notion largely taken up by certain types of individuals and, or manners of behavior meant to represent a whole group of those individuals or mannerisms. These ideas or notions may or may not be true. A large disadvantage to stereotyping is that it causes people to ignore differences between individuals. This leads people to believe things about a person or group of people that might not be true (Branscombe, N. R., & Baron, R. A., n.d.)
Discrimination is the unfair treatment towards a person or people based off of a logical or illogical opinion or reason (Branscombe, N. R., & Baron, R. A., n.d.).
In another lunch scene with Leigh Anne’s friends, Leigh Anne asks the other women if the have ever been to a certain part of their town. Her friends make judgmental statements about the area and what would happen to their reputation if the visited that part of town. This is stereotyping. The women have a notion based on certain types of individuals, that they believe represent the whole group of the individuals living in that certain part of town and their notions may not be true.
During a scene in the film, Michael is playing football and experiences a player on the opposing team kick him in the head and call him a “black piece of crap” (Broderick Johnson & John Lee Hancock, 2010) right in front of Michael’s coach and the referee. Michael’s coach asks the referee if he is going to do something about the fact that another player just kicked Michael in the head, so the referee calls unsportsmanlike conduct, but not on the opposing team’s player, on Michael’s team. This is Discrimination. Not only does the player on the opposing team make a racist comment towards Michael, but the referee witnesses it and chooses to do nothing. Both the player and referee give Michael unfair treatment based of an illogical reason, the color of his skin.
There are clear example of persuasion, hypocrisy, stereotype, and discrimination in the film, The Blind Side. The circumstances of a black teen moving into a wealthy white community offer opportunities for both groups to confront these four concepts. Michael had to deal with being persuaded to assimilate to the culture, stereotypes and discrimination of moving into a white community, and his own preconceived notions of an unfamiliar socio-economic group. The Touhys were faced with their own notions of African Americans, the hypocrisy of friends in their community and discrimination towards Michael that neither of their other two children had ever experienced.
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